Our Beautiful World

Ile de Reunion
The Island

The Meeting counts with the last census of 1999, more than 700 000 inhabitants divided on this piece of lava lost in the Indian Ocean. Its population is thus very significant, and will reach by 2010-2015, the million hearts. However, whereas livable or agricultural surface could start to miss, there are many places in the island where the demographic density is so low that it is lost in the majesty of great spaces. Mafate is one of them, immense circus today still, only accessible to feet, crossed ways and paths, virgin of asphalt roads.
Populated originally by slaves in escape who found finally an area where their days were not threatened any more, joined more late by the colonists, the zone is strewn with small villages located on îlets, with the boxes often fixed on the ramparts, masked by banana trees, ringed small enclosures, facts of chocas, for the animals. It exists to reach it, several routes. One of the most practised by the hikers is undoubtedly that of Maïdo, by the road of collecting of the Orange trees to the Wood of Medlars with Saint-Paul or even by the îlet of Lataniers and the River of the Rollers. A fantastic tour offering a point of considering incomparable on the whole of the circus.
The îlet of the Orange trees draws its name, for the simplest version, of the fruit tree which one finds in abundance on the plate since always. One second theory speaks about an orange black, which it first would have occupied the places.
While waiting for, of all the districts, that of the Orange trees was poorest a long time, that where the living conditions were undoubtedly most difficult because of the lack of water. Indeed, the few dwellings scattered with the liking of many and deep gullies were located at one hour of walk of the source nearest. Water was thus an invaluable good which had to be saved, to preserve like most fabulous of the treasures.
At the time of colonization, certain families obtained concessions, others not, but settled all the same, out the law, thinking of being protected from the reprisals by the ramparts and insulation. In 1874, the Forest Service wanted to drive out the inhabitants of the circus in order to carry out its afforestation. No one did not have the right then to burn a branch, even dead, under penalty of seeing its destroyed dwelling or to be sent to dig the port of the Point of the rollers. Exceeded, Mafatais managed to drive out, with blow of stones and sticks, the foresters, afterwards many years of sufferings. The îlet of Rock Punt is as for him that which one sees of Maïdo. The district was the first of the circus to being equipped with a school and profits, contrary to the îlet of the Orange trees, of an abundant irrigation. Guavas, bibasses, oranges, bananas, fishings, vines belong to the resources of the village, at the same time as the breeding, or the corn and bean culture. However, these fifty last years, its population decreased considerably, young people preferring the littoral in this center of the island. Tourism however gave again life with the îlet and the circus as a whole, which failed well to be deserted...


An Intense Island
In the midst of the Indian Ocean, a small French land is labouring at shaking off all preconceived ideas about tropical islands. Sure, there are coconut trees and beaches in Reunion, the turquoise blue lagoons and the white barrier reef are there waiting for you to fulfil your exotic dreams. Yet, these are only a tiny part of the whole range of different things the island offers travellers looking for unique experiences, encounters, feelings and emotions. Here, Nature has left a heritage rich in extraordinary scenery. Spread over 2500 square km, Reunion has all the diversity a continent can offer. The island changes her appearance with the relief and from abundance she can suddenly become arid and from tropical, mountainous. She likes astonishing you to better seduce you at every bend of her sea coast or roads that hang onto the mountain. Also, in these unique latitudes, history has concocted an exclusive cocktail of people and cultures, with ingredients coming from Africa, Asia and Europe. A harmonious mixture you'll discover with your heart.


The circus of Salazie, as of the origins of colonization, constituted an ideal refuge for the maroon blacks in escape which found there, a completely uninhabited area and whose aspect enabled them to live hidden without fearing to be taken again.
Indeed, the thick vegetation, the innumerable cashings, the inaccessibility of certain pitons, constituted an inviolable universe, where to seek a man summarized itself to find a pinhead in the beautiful medium of a virgin forest. On the littoral, the free grounds were done increasingly rare and the mouths to be nourished increasingly many.
In 1829, a terrible cyclone fell down on the island and destroyed the major part of harvests . The famished population thus put in search new grounds and penetrated the circus gradually, guided by the way opened by the hunters of kids which had preceded it, from the very start of the XIXème century. In 1830, the government which cannot face the economic disaster, then encouraged the establishments of families inside the circus, always without name, if it is not the Pond with water Hens, first inhabited place. It is Annette Of the Serf, girl of dealer who found the name of Salazie, inspired by the solid mass of Salazes or of the Salaozy Madagascan who means "good camping".

In 1834, some families gathered on a plate and created the place known as of Small Sand Petit Sable, with the site of the current village of Salazie... After having known misery and the hunger outside the circus, the first inhabitants found finally in Salazie, a hospital place where, thanks to the richness of the grounds nourished permanently by the humus of this vegetation luxuriante, all could push. Grains, vanilla, vegetables in all kinds, rices, grapes, coffee, fishings, lemons, apples, dreams, cresses, bananas, tobacco, pets or christophines imported of Mexico in 1840 by Sully Brunet, made it possible to the colonists to live in perfect autonomy, without never depending on the resources of Saint-Andrew. They went there besides only very seldom, the road connecting the littoral remaining dangerous because of the many falls and especially long, difficult to traverse. During this boom, the straw pet held to with it a very significant place in the life of Salaziens. It during more than one half-century was used by manufacturing hats of the whole world which transfer in it a material exceptional, remote, rare and expensive. The cultures were forsaken with its profit, offering considerable additional incomes, until the beginning of the XXème century, when the passion for the cover-chiefs, new technologies, replace it and ruin many families... Today, the village of Salazie and its variations became high tourist places, hidden under covers of incredible vegetations not stripping or little the original vision.
The inhabitants live there at the rate/rhythm of the clouds, the sunning and the rains, the flow of the "pisses in the air", encircled by the majesty and the beauty of the slopes precipice. Calms, serenity seem y to have found the way of eternity, where few things change, where the magic of the spectacle constitutes an inalienable law... "We passed under the ombreux forks and spoons, the most splendid trees, on a carpet of green foam and an emerald coat sown of red cutters like rubies"... Auguste Vinsson.






Where nothing else shown, all pictures are Copyright ©Pål Biseth


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